Home | News    Saturday 3 May 2008

Ethiopia bans economic migrations to Lebanon

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By Tesfa-alem Tekle

May 2, 2008 (ADDIS ABABA) — Celebrating Labor Day on Thursday, Ethiopia has officially banned all travels its citizens make to Beirut in search of job. The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs disclosed.

Ethiopia passed the bill after it made deep study into the human right violations and domestic violence Ethiopian migrants face behind closed doors in Beirut while in duty as maids.

“Suspending the work travel to Beirut was the only solution to minimize the human rights abuses dangers on our citizens,” said Zenebu Tadesse, deputy state minister for labor and social affairs.

During the past few years, a number of Ethiopians have been killed in Beirut by their employers.

Passed human right records show that 67 Ethiopian women have died between 1997 and 1999 alone in Beirut while working. Many never heard again and a lot others remain difficult to trace because their employers change their Christian name to let them in to the country as Muslims

The ministry said it would take strong action against any employment agency trying to send workers directly to Beirut or through a third country.

Every year, thousands of Ethiopian women, lured by the promise of lucrative jobs and comfortable lives, are shipped out to Middle Eastern countries but end up being trapped in prison-like conditions where no one could hear to their shout.

Lebanon is the most popular destination for Ethiopian domestic servants, followed by Bahrain, Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

Estimations indicate that there are over 50,000 Ethiopians working in Beirut, mainly women who work as house maids hoping to bring change on life conditions of them selves and their families who are back at home praying every day for them for their safe return.
Over 100,000 Ethiopian workers are believed to be working in the Arab countries of the Middle East.

According to Ethiopia women association, Ethiopian women in Middle Eastern countries are facing the worst kind of human rights abuses, subjected to beatings; denied earned wages; forced to toil without sleep; raped by employers; have parts of their body seared in boiling oil by wives of their employers; grilled with hot irons; and thrown out of high-rise windows.” As a result, many are driven to despair and end up mental sickness and sometimes suicide.

(ST)

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